This month has been a huge one for Hand in Hand, a Bettendorf-based program that empowers children and adults of all abilities to learn and grow.

Two days after the nonprofit learned it would get $750,000 in State of Iowa funding, to expand its Pre-K childcare program, staff, participants and employees with Russell Construction wielded big hammers on Jan. 14 to start demolition inside the former United Insurance building, 1985 Spruce Hills Drive (off 18th Street) in Bettendorf.

Participants in the People With Purpose program took turns taking a sledgehammer to a wall in their planned Bettendorf clubhouse.

That separate $750,000 remodel (in 2,100 square feet of space) is to be done by May, to house the growing People with Purpose (PWP) program. It gives adults with disabilities a chance to volunteer in the Quad-Cities community while also working on life and work skills in a fun, social setting.

“The program has been around for over seven years and it is an adult dayhab program,” Hand in Hand CEO Angie Kendall said Tuesday. “It was created because parents of Hand in Hand were looking for a solution. Hand in Hand’s strength is our ability to continue to meet family needs.”

“They used to be located in our building here in Bettendorf, and grew too big for that. So they’ve been temporarily using our leased space at Edwards Church, which we use for our school-age program.”

Hand in Hand CEO Angie Kendall

PWP moved last summer to Edwards Congregational Church at 3420 Jersey Ridge Road, Davenport. United Insurance moved from their building this past November to 1850 53rd St., Davenport.

The PWP participants are age 18 and up, and spend their time volunteering in the community, with many partners, and working on personal independence skills, and social skills, Kendall said.

To accommodate increased demand and ensure all adults have the opportunity to gain skills, increase independence, and have a high quality of life, Hand in Hand is raising funds for and building a clubhouse where adults will get the support they need in a state-of-the-art program ensuring dignity, independence, and opportunity, says Hand in Hand.

This program and new space will provide a high quality of life for adults of all abilities, while providing them support and experience to be successful, according to their website. The People with Purpose clubhouse will serve as a home base for the adults where each person feels comfortable and successful.

Hand in Hand CEO Angie Kendall, right, with one of the People With Purpose participants in the new space.

The new space will host a home-like feel and will offer a welcoming entry way, a large dining area where everyone can sit together and have a family-style meal, a full working kitchen where they can practice cooking skills, an office where they can work on their resumes and learn office related tasks, a recreation space to have fun with friends and socialize, and a laundry space where participants can practice this important life skill. Participants will take an active role in designing, maintaining, and cleaning this space as well, encouraging even more skill-building.

With this new clubhouse space, Hand in Hand will expand the program to an average daily attendance of 20 participants (approximately 50 adults overall).

Helping people give back

The PWP is geared to people who are looking for social exposure and for an opportunity to really be an integral part of our community and to give back.

“Everyone deserves their own space,” Kendall said, noting they’re partnering with Paragon Commercial Interiors and the St. Ambrose University occupational therapy program.

Hand in Hand has raised $500,000 toward the $750,000 project, Kendall said. The plan is to finish renovations in May to move in, and then have more space for the school-age child care this summer at Edwards Congregational.

Edwards Church is at 3420 Jersey Ridge Road, Davenport.

“We’ve always had a school-age program, but moved to Edwards to accommodate growth,” Kendall said.

The recent state funding for pre-K expansion may help the organization to raise the rest of the money for PWP, she noted.

“People want to support agencies who are making a difference in moving forward, despite considerable challenges,” Kendall said. “The Hand in Hand leadership team as well as the direct care staff have been incredible at — to use a really worn out word, though — pivoting and turning this opportunity and saying, how can we make it better?”

“Much like many other local agencies, we’re not letting this knock us down, but using it to continue to grow and serve community need,” she said. “If anyone needed anybody, it’s right now.”

Hand in Hand has hired two additional staff for PWP (coming on now), and will hire more for this summer, Kendall said. Russell is doing the Bettendorf project.

“They have been incredible in responding to other needs and we have a great relationship with them,” she said.

Earlier this month, Hand in Hand won a $750,000 state of Iowa grant to expand its Pre-K childcare services.

Hand in Hand will now operate at three physical locations. One at the Bettendorf Middle Road headquarters for childcare ages 6 weeks – 18 years. One in Davenport at Edwards Church that provides care for school-age children, and one in Bettendorf on Spruce Hills for adult dayhab. The recreation programs use all three locations, plus others in the community, Kendall said.

The PWP hours are Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

People with Purpose fills the gap left after high school for young adults of all abilities, including those with disabilities, providing participants will opportunities five days a week to be social, have fun, learn new skills, and make a positive impact on their community, according to Hand in Hand.

Volunteering

Participants gain life and work skills by volunteering at organizations such as GiGi’s Playhouse, the Quad Cities Botanical Center, Bettendorf Christian Church, The Minnie Fridge, and Family Resources.

Community Involvement

Participants get involved in the Quad Cities community and enjoy the many activities that are available for young adults such as visiting the Bettendorf Public Library, ordering coffee at the Books A Million café, or shopping at the mall together.

Social Engagement

Participants are given opportunities to socialize and spend time with others their age. Two goals of People with Purpose are increasing the confidence of our participants and improving their social skills. They also prioritize having fun and making friends.

For more information, visit the Hand in Hand website.